Coordinator: Lynda Dexheimer
Students in 201 complete research projects on topics of their own choosing within various fields of study. See the options for Spring 2014 below. 201 will help you gain valuable expertise in your topic area, learn how to do research, and improve your writing abilities.
- SAS Students: 201 is a Core Certified course meeting both WCr and WCd requirements for Writing and Communication Goals.
- SEBS Students; 201 meets Core Curriculum Requirements in Area VI: Oral and Written Communication.
- Other Students: 201 satisfies requirements for most schools. Check with your advisor.
Nutrition and Exercise Science
This course gives students an opportunity to research nutrition and exercise strategies for optimal wellness. Research options include topics such as training techniques; sports pedagogy; training and diet for athletes; diet and/or exercise as treatment for or prevention of disease; nutrition and exercise for pregnant women; childhood obesity; occupational therapy; physical therapy; sports medicine; weight management; eating disorders; food insecurity; etc. NOTE: THIS TOPIC IS ALSO OFFERED ON LIVINGSTON CAMPUS.
Science, Medicine, and Society
America at War
War is a funny thing. It seems as though everything we do in America has a war connected to it. We go to war against drugs and cancer and poverty and terrorism and crime and birth control and the middle class and labor and women and Christmas, and this doesn't even mention the wars of Revolution or 1812 or Civil or Spanish-American or I and II .... you get the idea. In this course you will explore and develop a special interest in the theme of war, and research and write about a particular kind of active hostility or contention between living beings, opposing forces, or principles. But is war a funny thing? Come explore the tragedy or the humor, and perhaps even both, of America at War.
The idea of celebrity began in the ancient world with powerful Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. Celebrity grew to include Olympic athletes, gladiators, mighty warriors, rulers, and religious figures such as saints and martyrs. Mass media have greatly expanded the list of celebrities to include the famous and the infamous. Possible topics include the cult of celebrity, celebrity culture, privacy, movie stars, heroes, athletes, royalty, daredevils, fictional characters, nonebrities (the famous for being famous), religious and political leaders, judges, chefs, artists, and entertainers.
the changing workplace
What does it mean to work for a living in twenty-first century America? How do social changes play out in the workplace? How do changes in business practices affect the nation? This course examines the way work affects the employee and how employee concerns impact management. Possible research topics include the move toward consulting, living on minimum wage, gender in the workplace, the decline of labor unions, privacy issues, the global economy, corporate culture, childcare concerns, healthcare, retirement benefits, job security, sexual harassment, discrimination, outsourcing, small business, trade agreements, and government regulations. NOTE: THIS TOPIC IS ALSO OFFERED ON LIVINGSTON CAMPUS.
This course explores the changing meaning of college in America, with a focus on the increasing privatization of public education. Research topics might include the rising costs of college and matching student debt, the disconnect between student life and academics, the stressful competition for admission to the most selective schools, the expense of remedial education, the rise of big time college sports as a revenue stream, the history of student protest movements, the role of fraternities and sororities, and the complex relationship between faculty and corporations. As part of the class, students will be required to conduct at least one primary source interview that is appropriate to their projects. This is a hybrid course with meetings one day each week supplemented by online activities, which will include keeping a research blog and participating in online discussion forums.
Who are you? Is your identity fixed or is it always changing? This course explores how we perceive ourselves, as individuals or as part of a collective group. We will examine the relationship between our environment and our psychological and biological selves. Possible areas of research include musical preference, fashion style, race relations, self-help books, plastic surgery, and national pride.
From the big issues like abortion, sexuality, suicide, euthanasia, punishment, war, and famine to the small actions taken on a daily basis, human beings are constantly confronted with the tricky business of morality. In this course, we will examine scholarly debates over ethics and moral obligations in various areas of life, and you will become an expert on a small slice of this domain as you conduct your own research. During the semester, you will have the opportunity to sort out in a rigorous fashion debates about right and wrong, where humans’ moral obligations lie, and why you think that is.
How did something as essential as clothing evolve into something as frivolous as fashion, constantly changing and regularly discarded? How did the verb "to fashion", which means, "to make," end up as a noun that describes the latest and hottest garment to be worn, a word synonymous with change? This class will explore these questions. We will also examine how fashion is used to define individuals and how fashion is a form of communication and culture with rules, values, and prohibitions. From fashion design and designers, to beauty and marketing, to subcultures and politics, this course will look at fashion as a social and cultural language today. Some possible research topics are: the cultural significance of specific designers; an examination of fashion trends as subculture; or a history of cosmetic use and its evolution in the last 100 years.
Feminism for everyone
Regardless of age, race, gender, class, or sexual orientation, feminism is relevant to everyone. In this course we will explore the roots of the feminist movement, modern-day issues within feminism, the misconceptions about what it means to be a feminist, and the ways in which feminism is relevant to today’s Rutgers students. Drawing on a wide range of sources from Mary Wollstonecraft to Sarah Silverman, from blogs to books, from fashion magazines to photographic archives, we will delve into feminism as not just an isolated movement, but one that intersects with myriad modern-day issues in politics, the sciences, sports, the arts, and pop culture.
Humor and Comedy
Humans use humor on a daily basis. But why do we use humor, and what are the larger implications of employing jest to make a statement? This course allows students to investigate humor, comedy, and laughter through a variety of academic lenses. Students can research and analyze such topics as political satire, popular cartoons, stand-up routines, comedians, ethnic and cultural humor, sit-coms, YouTube antics, bloopers, vaudeville, The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, film, video, and comic books.
Issues in Education
Education is a hot topic in media discussions, on the campaign trail, and even around the family dinner table because of controversies over issues as diverse as student debt and cyber bullying. This course will cut through the sound bytes to explore real research on important topics such as teacher accountability, tuition hikes, high stakes testing, gender and learning, equality of education, school climate, the technology gap, funding crises, and charter schools, among many others. Students will explore how teaching practices, education policy and pedagogical ideals affect what and how people learn, and how that learning then affects the entire fabric of a society. Are the only options to either join the “Race to Nowhere” or remain “Waiting for Superman”? Come and find out!
Propaganda at the cineplex
Propaganda films were made by the Soviets in the decade following the Russian Revolution in order to promote the accomplishments of communism; by the Nazis who sought to combat their ideological enemies; and by all sides during World War II to sell the war, heroism, and patriotic lore. But it was really with the end of the fighting that propaganda films emerged as an important tool to fight the Cold War. Since then, propaganda films have taken a new turn, raising an important question: What is a propaganda film today? Do Michael Moore’s films qualify? Is a documentary propaganda? Can a narrative film also be considered propaganda? This course will begin by looking at some propaganda films, reading about them and their importance, and determining what makes a movie propaganda. Then students will undertake a research project selecting films or a filmmaker from the last fifty years, whose work they deem to be propagandistic. Are the movies at the Cineplex propaganda, and if so why?
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Elements of science fiction and fantasy stories can be used to dramatize contemporary problems. How does escape into "otherworlds" like Oz or Panem change the dimensions not only of social and psychological identity, but also of broader social and cultural structures such as race, gender, and class? How does painting a speculative framework allow for explorations of uncharted or sensitive concepts? Drawing from Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, and beyond, this class will examine the foreign landscapes of Science Fiction and Fantasy where heightened conditions shine a new light on human identity and the perspective of self and society, providing a reflection of new-found knowledge and truth closer to home, in the world we know.
secular and spiritual
What is the place of spirituality in a modern world? Are increasingly secular societies leaving traditional faiths behind? Are these societies neglecting a crucial dimension of human experience? Are they following out an inevitable progression toward rationality and common sense? In this class we'll be looking at these questions and others as we investigate the competing claims of the worldly and the sacred. Possible paper topics include secular ethics and modern medicine, science and atheism, religion and music, the emergence of new forms or traditions of spirituality, the role of the sacred in environmental movements, fundamentalism and global politics, the revival of Jewish orthodoxy, the debate over headscarves and female modesty, the increasing number of nonbelievers in America, and many others. NOTE: THIS TOPIC IS ALSO OFFERED ON DOUGLASS CAMPUS.
that’s so gay
What do phrases like “No Homo” and “That’s so gay” reveal about the acceptance of LGBTQ individuals in our society? While casual homophobic language may be hurtful to members of the LGBTQ community, might it also reveal a changing landscape of acceptance in contemporary society? How have rapid advances been made for non-heterosexuals through politics in the last fifty years, and what has caused these paradigms to shift? What does it mean to embrace and celebrate an LGBTQ identity in 2013? Building on a discussion of these questions, students will develop original and diverse research projects on topics that may include anti-bullying campaigns, drag culture, pride festivals in cultures around the world, “gacist” TV comedy, transgender identity in the media, religious exclusion and inclusion, or queer poetry and performance art. Students of any sex, gender, and sexuality are welcome to join our discussion!
In this course, students will study the interrelationships of animals with their communities and environments. Student research options include topics such as animal testing, animals in captivity, breeding, animal behavior and training, domestic animal management, zoo management, endangered species, animal health and treatment, animal communication, animal rights, animals in therapy, etc.
Exploring creativity! Where does it come from—the cosmos, the muses, our DNA? Do creative people think outside the “box?” What is the “box?” How do we break through to our innate originality and live it rather than conceal it in order to fit in? Are imagination, innovation, and inspiration the exclusive domain of the arts and sciences, or essential components for enriching our lives as well as our diverse profession? Those are some of the issues we’ll investigate. Research topics to consider include: creative ability and autism; effects of drugs on creative output; advertising and creative persuasion; the dark side and curse of creativity; left-handedness; the use of the Golden Mean—the mysterious number employed to establish order and beauty in art. Ultimately, you’re free to follow your inspiration to discover other related topics.
Have you heard that by the year 2050 Alaska will no longer have polar bears? Did you know that Glacier National Park will soon become a park without glaciers? Did you know that elephants are "cracking up"? Have you ever considered how Thoreau changed the face of environmental writing, or how Rachel Carson started the environmental movement with her book Silent Spring? In this course students will explore all things environmental: economics, science, technology, ecology, politics, policy, practice, activism, international relations, energy, and art.
The Ethics of Food
"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," Michael Pollan advised in his bestselling book, In Defense of Food. In our busy contemporary society, we cram down French fries that don't grow mold if we forget to eat them for a month; foot long sandwiches stuffed with processed meats; fizzy drinks of a dazzling array of colors. This course will explore the ethics of food, in terms of its production and distribution. Possible topics of research include an investigation of the ethics of the fast food industry, genetically modified foods, factory farms, agribusinesses, organic foods, food waste, and the recent increase in interest for local produce in farmers' markets, and rooftop farming in urban areas. PLEASE NOTE: THIS TOPIC IS ALSO OFFERED ON LIVINGSTON CAMPUS.
International children’s literature
"A child's story which is enjoyed only by a child is a bad child's story. The good ones last." So said C.S. Lewis, referring to children’s books standing the test of time. But can children’s books stand the test of place as well? Against a theoretical background of Tony Watkins' piece, "Space, History and Culture: the Setting of Children's Literature," we will read stories for children from other lands, including The Baboon King by Anton Quintana, translated from Dutch and set in tribal East Africa; The Friends by Kazumi Yumoto, translated from Japanese and set in a Japanese city; The Clay Marble, by Minfong Ho, which is set in Cambodia during the Vietnam War; The Man From the Other Side by Uri Orlev, translated from Hebrew and set in Warsaw during the ghetto uprisings. Possible research topics include examining how various cultural differences and values are reflected in international children’s stories of the student’s own choice.
law, order and media
This course will explore our culture's fascination with law enforcement and the justice system. Students will discuss and research the glamorization of the pursuit of justice, and the link between law and entertainment as seen in novels and "true crime" literature, films, theater, television, and news media. A wide variety of topics will be examined and analyzed, but students are encouraged to come to class with their own viewpoints on crime and punishment, as they have been presented in today's culture and throughout history.
Americans are now living in families that come in many more varieties than the stereotypical 1950s nuclear family. Millions of families are structured around same-sex marriage, unwed parents, adoption, divorce, remarriage, intergenerational living, and so on. Individual research projects will address various topics under the large umbrella of “modern family”: step families; military families; extended family; abuse within families; single-parent families; stay-at-home fathers; cultural representations of family, etc. Bring your individual interests and explore!
Music and Dance
Music and Dance explores a range of collaborative possibilities between musicians, dancers and choreographers. We seek to understand how artists work together to create performances and how music and dance affect us individually and culturally. This rich topic is ideal for dance and music majors interested in an opportunity to build on their expertise and knowledge, but a background in the arts is not essential, and there is no requirement to consider music and dance equally in individual research papers. Possible research topics include specific dance forms and the iconic artists associated with them; music and dance in film, on Broadway and in smaller, more rarified venues; gender in dance and music; commercialism and its effect on the arts; anorexia and body image; dance and music therapy etc.
Music, Expression, and Performance
This is an exciting, collaborative course designed to accommodate serious and meaningful research on a wide variety of topics. These have included important projects about the influence and significance of musicians like Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and George Harrison; fusion in Jazz and World Music; protest music; music and racism; fan behavior; film scoring; file sharing; the creativity of amateur musicians; and even stage fright. Accomplished musicians who can use their expertise to shape a research topic, and students who love music and want to explore a topic that they are interested in, are equally welcome!
This course will allow students to examine the history of atrocity through the lens of photography and visual media, asking how we understand such atrocities that defy the imagination. The course will begin with a short paper that pays particular attention to representations of trauma from the Holocaust and the ethical questions that come from looking at the pain of others. By focusing on how images relate to words, students will examine questions of representation, imagination, and history. Topics might include how artists have struggled with this history, Hollywood's depictions of the nightmare of atrocity, documentary evidence from historical events, and the fantasies of witnessing that have concerned scholars in recent studies.
secular and spiritual
What is the place of spirituality in a modern world? Are increasingly secular societies leaving traditional faiths behind? Are these societies neglecting a crucial dimension of human experience? Are they following out an inevitable progression toward rationality and common sense? In this class we'll be looking at these questions and others as we investigate the competing claims of the worldly and the sacred. Possible paper topics would include secular ethics and modern medicine, science and atheism, religion and music, the emergence of new forms or traditions of spirituality, the role of the sacred in environmental movements, fundamentalism and global politics, the revival of Jewish orthodoxy, the debate over headscarves and female modesty, the increasing number of nonbelievers in America, and many others. PLEASE NOTE: THIS TOPIC IS ALSO OFFERED ON THE COLLEGE AVENUE CAMPUS.
Time, The Familiar Stranger
What is time? For Plato, time was a "moving image of eternity." Isaac Newton conceived of time as an absolute flow, existing independently of all events and processes. To the Symbolists, time was all that was corrosive; time was death. British physicist, Julian Barbour, argues that time is merely an illusion. The truth is that at present, there is little consensus regarding an exact definition or even an adequate description of time. Our course takes its name from a groundbreaking study by noted scholar J.T. Fraser whose life's work focused on the notion that great insights are often gained by foregrounding a consideration of time in all disciplines. This class will offer students exciting opportunities for research in the broadest array of topics including, but not in any way limited to the psychology of time, biological time, time in the arts, the sociology of time, time in business, and the history of time.
the Changing Workplace
What does it mean to work for a living in twenty-first century America? How do social changes play out in the workplace? How do changes in business practices affect the nation? This course examines the way work affects the employee and how employee concerns impact management. Possible research topics include the move toward consulting, living on minimum wage, gender in the workplace, the decline of labor unions, privacy issues, the global economy, corporate culture, childcare concerns, healthcare, retirement benefits, job security, sexual harassment, discrimination, outsourcing, small business, trade agreements, and government regulations. PLEASE NOTE: THIS TOPIC IS ALSO OFFERED ON THE COLLEGE AVENUE CAMPUS.
communication in the digital age
Texts. Emails. Facebook. Twitter. Linkedin. G-chat. Skype. The manner in which we communicate has changed over time and the channels of communication seem to be ever increasing. This course gives students an opportunity to research and explore changes in communication in the context of the digital age. Examples of research options include topics such as the changes in language attributable to increased electronic communication, the loss of a message's meaning on social media, the importance of (or lack thereof) body language in communication, and the effects of increased connectivity on communication.
JFK. Roswell. The Moon Landing. People seem to love a good conspiracy theory. Conspiracy narratives are important precisely because of the intense level of belief or disbelief that they provoke. By putting aside judgment as to whether a particular conspiracy theory is true or false, students will analyze just why certain conspiracy theories catch on so quickly and stay around for so long. Over the course of the semester, students will choose a specific conspiracy theory and examine its significance: What are the meaning-making structures that make it click? Why does it have such a hold on the popular imagination? What does this say about people who “want to believe,” as the X-Files put it? What does this say about those who refuse to believe? How do new conspiracy theories develop and what determines their future level of popularity?
The Ethics of Food
"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food," Michael Pollan advised in his bestselling book, In Defense of Food. In our busy contemporary society, we cram down French fries that don't grow mold if we forget to eat them for a month; foot long sandwiches stuffed with processed meats; fizzy drinks of a dazzling array of colors. This course will explore the ethics of food, in terms of its production and distribution. Possible topics of research include an investigation of the ethics of the fast food industry, genetically modified foods, factory farms, agribusinesses, organic foods, food waste, and the recent increase in interest for local produce in farmers' markets, and rooftop farming in urban areas. PLEASE NOTE: THIS COURSE IS ALSO OFFERED ON THE DOUGLASS CAMPUS.
E.T. The dance of death at sunset. Gangsters, hangovers, and martial arts. A slum dog millionaire. Perhaps no other art form in the last century has left an impact on culture the way that film has. Through the images on screen, audiences engage in their hopes and fears, find their heroes, and confront their demons. Hollywood, Bollywood, the indie, the foreign film, documentaries and animation--the categories that fall under the art form have left a lasting legacy on our imaginations. This course will explore the nature of film as an art form and look at its power to inspire and enchant. Students may write about the lasting influence of a particular film, a director, or the significance of a genre.
Justice and the Law
Justice, in its most basic sense, can be defined as the fair treatment of people in a civil society through the political enactment, administration, and enforcement of law, which in the United States is embodied by the Constitution. In this course, we will examine the theoretical and practical foundations of justice in our society, especially the “social contract” between the individual and the state. We will analyze the extent to which our government and its legal system have succeeded in upholding the ideals enshrined in the US Constitution. Possible topics include discrimination and civil rights, the death penalty, abortion, free speech, citizenship, gay rights, affirmative action, voting rights, and the rights of the accused.
Love and Sex
Most songs, novels, and movies focus on the same theme: love. How can we define love? What is the difference between loving someone and being in love? In this course, students will investigate the ways in which love and sex affect cultural traditions, gender norms, and the human condition. We will look at controversial issues that arise when people defy, redefine, or revisit cultural and social norms associated with love and sex. Possible topics include acts of flirtation, gay marriage, public displays of affection, serial killers and necrophilia, sexuality in comic books, female genital mutilation, Internet sex addiction, sexual predators, and pornography.
music of the moment
Paralleling the rapid succession from LP to MP3, the ways in which we think about music have evolved dramatically over the past hundred years or so. What’s the difference between composition and improvisation? Do seemingly disparate styles have more in common than we think? What separates music from sound or noise? Is sample-based music creative? Should we pay for music? We’ll seek to answer questions like these, and examine the “universal language” from a wide variety of twenty-first century angles and perspectives.
Once a natural disaster has occurred, what impact does it have on society? The immediate needs of survival may bring discordant groups together to support each other, such as in Oakland, California after the 1991 earthquake. In that case, residents who lived nearby in poorer neighborhoods rescued people from wealthy areas stranded in cars on the damaged freeways. Other times, simmering differences can erupt, leading to antagonism and bloodshed. Natives in Indonesia took up arms against the Dutch colonists after Krakatoa erupted in 1883, because they felt the gods were clearly displeased with the decadent society. As for government officials, they may emerge as heroes who attempt to save their community or scapegoats to blame for the suffering and loss. Students in this course will look at past records of natural disasters and study their impact on the societies that were affected. How did the societies cope? What supports were in place to help? Who were the most affected by the disaster? Clues to building resilient societies may be evident in how they rise from the ashes.
nutrition and exercise science
This course gives students an opportunity to research nutrition and exercise strategies for optimal wellness. Research options include topics such as training techniques; sports pedagogy; training and diet for athletes; diet and/or exercise as treatment for or prevention of disease; nutrition and exercise for pregnant women; childhood obesity; occupational therapy; physical therapy; sports medicine; weight management; eating disorders; food insecurity; etc. PLEASE NOTE: THIS TOPIC IS ALSO OFFERED ON BUSCH CAMPUS.
The Psychology of Conflict
“Can we all get along?” Rodney King touched the soul of the nation in 1992 with this simple but insightful question because it poses fundamental human concerns: why do we fight with our family, friends, and loved ones? Why is argument the basis of so much of education and business? Why do gender, class, race, and ethnic groups sometimes fight over core values and backgrounds? Why do nations go to war? “Psychology of Conflict” will allow students to address these issues and more. Conflict may not always lend itself to resolution, but resolution can often be managed. Investigation of techniques for conflict resolution can provide an additional avenue for student research.
The Psychology of Horror
The Latin root of the word ‘monster’ means warning, and horror is inescapable from social allegory as it disrupts the ‘normal’ and challenges the body. Born of crime, tragedy, war, voyeurism, excess and mental illness, the genre of Horror attracts and repels often in equal measure. From abjection to ‘othering,’ personal history fuses with political events and transitory social customs, creating an ever-changing and controversial flux of what may be deemed ‘horrific’. Understanding the nexus of high and low culture, social theory and commercial forms, and the transformation and sublimation offers students a means of understanding all social behavior as humans pivot between sexual/emotional/intellectual desires and the inescapable ‘death drive’ that terrifies and attracts us all.
Stories We Tell
What’s your personal narrative? What are the stories you tell and listen to that make you who you are? Storytelling shapes identity and can be first-person accounts about relationships, honoring the dead, journeys, adventures, faith, politics and accomplishments. It is also living history as in the thousands of stories that make a culture’s collective identity. Storytelling is digital, written, oral, image, song and dance and never before have so many diverse fields used the power of the story in their work. Storytelling played a role in evolution, and today is practiced at every cultural level, from riots in Africa to boardrooms, from the porches of rural America to hospitals, from churches, mosques and temples to the courthouse – and your house. Research topics have included investigating how story relates to voodoo healing, an Indian epic tale, cigarette ad campaigns, Palestinian exile, photos from the civil rights era, classical music, the paintings of Jacob Lawrence, dementia treatment, hip hop dance and chocolate. Yes, chocolate.
surveillance and privacy
Americans often seem shocked when revelations of government snooping into citizens' phone calls and emails come to light, yet the same Americans are entertained by fictionalized TV intelligence and surveillance thrillers such as "Person of Interest" and "Homeland." Moreover, millions of Americans routinely publish their personal information on Facebook and other social media for the world to see. What expectations of privacy can we expect in a world in which surveillance has become so easy and so common? And if the government is collecting data on us, how is this different from the private corporations that do so as well? What is or should be secret today? In this course, students will explore and research the intersection between the reality of surveillance and the changing expectations of privacy.
taboos and transgressions
Engaging in pre-marital sex? Eating pork? Breastfeeding in public? Cross-dressing? Would any of these activities offend you? This course explores the origins of taboos and the social and religious consequences of transgressing them. We will examine how we decide what is decent and indecent in our society and what these codes of conduct say about us. We will explore the forbidden and discuss the unmentionable.
Technology sells the promise of doing more and more for us: one million apps and counting; drugs for all problems; TV on demand; self-driving cars; 3D printing; Internet in your glasses; etc. Yet side-by-side with state of the art tech, we find mounting chaos in the United States: government gridlock; epidemic obesity; environmental degradation; privacy invasions; economic stagnation; debt crises, etc. This course offers students the opportunity to read and analyze research that may help connect the dots between the promise and the chaos, to step backstage and ask: Does technical progress really equal human progress? Or is the rising technical order at the expense of human/environmental chaos? Or both?